The U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) issued a request for information (RFI) for information to provide possible technical solutions to help inform the future requirements and contract efforts for the Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE), it said in a posting to FedBizzOpps Monday.

The PCTE is a training platform that allows cyber mission forces to train in emulated network environments using current cyber tool suits. It supports individual and team training as well as large scale exercise and experimentation using a distributed close network across multiple classifications. The PCTE platform is aimed at evolving to focus on integration of available applications, enabling increased automation to ultimately support multiple simultaneous training events, the Army said.

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Once mature, a DoD joint PCTE “will be a constellation of federated, interoperable common training capabilities enabling full spectrum training from individual competencies to the team, unit, group and force training, exercises, TTP development and mission rehearsal.,” the announcement said.

The RFI noted that the future training platform should include four main parts, focusing on building a proficiency to joint standards:

  • Realistic vignettes/scenarios as part of a system of individual and collective training from initial qualification through certification to mission rehearsal;
  • Event scheduling, management and execution;
  • Standardized training assessment; and
  • A live, highly expert joint Opposing Force (OPFOR)/Aggressor to realistically simulate adversary threats and vulnerabilities, in addition to “canned” scenarios mimicking an automated OPFOR based on the current threat.

The Army noted that currently the Defense Department uses a combination of loosely affiliated or independent virtual environments that lack the automation necessary to establish and maintain persistent and scalable training environments. Earlier analysis detailed gaps with PCTE event planning, event management, training assessment, restoration of the training environments, and automated opposition force.

The RFI said white papers should be submitted under two categories, event management and also environment and resource management. Interested parties are instructed to provide two white papers, once for each category, while also responding to as many sub-categories as desired within the paper to outline possible technical solutions, capabilities, and critical cost/schedule drivers related to the categories and sub-categories. Each white paper is limited to 20 pages.

The categories and sub-categories are as follows:

  • Category 1: Event Management. Dedicated and distributed event creation, scheduling, allocation and management functions for event design, planning and execution, replay, and archiving.
    • Sub-Category A: PCTE Event Management Platform. This is the central instance (physical and logical infrastructure) that is the core of PCTE and enables training activities.
    • Sub-Category B: Master Control. Functions of the master control include the centralized planning, scheduling and direction of PTE training operations.
    • Sub-Category C: Centralized Order Portal. This is the entry point for customer training event requests, taking customer training requirements from planning to event design to execution and assessment.
    • Sub-Category D: Event Design. This function takes customer requirements and joint standards and develops course and scenario design to deliver vignettes as well as a complete Master Scenario Events List (MSEL) leveraging automation and content library.
    • Sub-Category E: Exercise Control. Describes the automated functions that control the exercise environment and drives training audience accomplishment of tasks and training objectives.
    • Sub-Category F: Opposing Force. Automated and live application and emulation of threat actors from unsophisticated actors to advanced persistent threats with the highest level of proficiency.
    • Sub-Category G: Assessment. Provides automated assessment tools and capabilities for capture and playback including visualization.
    • Sub-Category H: Content Library. The central repository of all certified and relevant training content that would be available to the cyber workforce.
    • Sub-Category I: Virtual Cyber Classroom. This includes the management of individual learning ecosystem portal to support a virtual learning environment and augments reality courses.
  • Category 2: Environment and Resource Management. The management of a closed cyber exercise network (e.g., simulated general purpose red, gray, blue space, and related command and control) and cloud access to the full suite of DoD and Service distributed exercise resources, training environments, and capabilities enabling remote, geographically-separated network access for the cyber mission forces. The environments will be at multiple classifications from unclassified through Top Secret-SCI and can be a combination of virtual machines and physical instances.

Responses to this RFI are due by Nov. 16. PEO STRI also plans to hold an Industry Day for the PCTE in early November in Orlando, Fla.